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Faculty Publication: Assistant Professor of Spanish Ignasi Gozalo-Salellas

September 2, 2021

Sovereign Spaces: Law and Legitimacy in the Catalan Pro-Independence Struggle (2010-2019)

Author: Gozalo-Salellas, Ignasi

Source: Wall to Wall: Law as Culture in Latin America and Spain, Vernon Press

Type of Publication: Chapter in a Book

Abstract: This essay provides a discussion of the dispute for sovereignty in the CatalanSpanish crisis of the last decade. I argue that this conflict juxtaposed, and opposed, two different arguments: law and legitimacy—in legal language, auctoritas and potestas—by the Spanish State and the Catalan proindependence movement respectively by using public space in different ways. The chapter studies the different modes of reclaiming power through the settling and appropriation of spaces, which resulted in an anxious struggle between a constituted power, the State, and an incipient form of “destituent power,” as Giorgio Agamben calls it, in the case of the secessionist movement. Finally, the essay proposes Henri Lefebvre’s spatial triad as the necessary ontological structure to achieve a successful new social space in the Catalan territory. It would imply going beyond the focus on both spatial practices (in the form of massive protests) and representational spaces (the space of citizens who produced a sense of belonging), and instead achieving a massive representation of space or, in other words, the building of hegemonic social space over society. 

Spanish Department